Papua New Guinea
Also known as PNG, it is one of the least explored and most remote countries in the world, also consider as the "underwater photographer's paradise", there are many international award-winning photos being taken in PNG waters. PNG located in the Indo-Pacific Area, completely within the Coral triangle, it borders the Solomon Islands to the East, and shares the greater island of New Guinea with Indonesian Papua to the west, Australia to the South. The country of Papua New Guinea consists of the eastern half of the island of New Guinea. Which is the second largest island in the world (with Indonesia’s West Papua occupying the other half). And then several large islands that make up the island provinces of the country.
Experts say that the oceans surrounding Papua New Guinea have up to twice as many marine species as the waters of the Red Sea and up to five times as many as the Caribbean. It offer huge diversity of dive sites including barrier reefs, coral walls (drop off), coral gardens, patch reefs, fringing reefs, sea grass beds, coral atolls and wrecks dive sites.
Divers can see anything from the smallest rarest of Nudies to the weird and wonderful creatures that are attracted to the rich ecosystems of the surrounding areas. While aboard we may also stumble across the largest of the large Pelagic trophies such as Mantas, Hammerheads, leopard sharks, Dugongs, Whale Sharks, dolphins and even whales! As well as schooling pelagic fish like barracuda, tuna, mackerel, and trevally are often seen hunting for prey like snapper and fusilier together with sharks.
Divers can dive in Papua New Guinea year-round, but conditions change based on which area you are diving. Generally, the South Pacific and Coral Sea are great from December to April, while the Solomon Sea is fantastic during every month of the year. The Bismarck Sea is best dived from May to November, but it does get a bit windy in August.
The average water temperature varies from 25 degrees Celsius along the edge of the Coral Sea to 30 degrees Celsius in the Bismarck Sea. The visibility usually ranges from 20 to 40 meters unless you are diving at muck diving sites or sites near mangrove swamps.
Liveaboard Diving Regions :
Papua New Guinea is a very diverse country that is spread out over a very large geographical area. Overall, scuba diving in Papua New Guinea can be thought of as three primary areas: The South Pacific and Coral Sea region, The Solomon Sea region, and finally the Bismarck Sea region.
The South Pacific & Coral Sea Region
The Milne Bay Province, including the most well-known and the best diving area such as Milne Bay, as well as the Tufi and Port Moresby areas, plus the excellent diving sites around Madang and Wewak area, in details :
Milne Bay Area
The Milne Bay area is the spiritual home of scuba diving in Papua New Guinea as it is the place that really put the country on to the international diving map. Being within the Coral Triangle, there have been many studies proving that marine biodiversity here is close to the highest in the world. Plus the airplane wrecks from World War II, stunning drop-offs .. All made this place as a MUST-VISIT. For those who love the weird and wonderful critters of muck, this place is like a Wonderland. For those who like large pelagic, there will be no disappointment neither, Hammerheads, Manta rays, large schooling of snapper, fusiliers, barracuda, trevally can be expected any time, and there are whitetips, blacktips and grey reef sharks, whale sharks often appear around Milne Bay, if you are lucky, you can even meet Dugong or minke whales.
Port Moresby Area
Port Moresby suffers from a pretty bad diving reputation. However, there are actually at least 15 dive sites on the offshore and sunken barrier reefs. Several of which offer everything from the elusive rhinopias to schooling barracuda. Plus some amazing wrecks, especially the famous Pacific Gas wreck and the Suzies Bommie wreck.
Tufi is a small town located in a remote, pristine region of Papua New Guinea at the tip of Cape Nelson. Tufi is only accessible by plane or boat, as there are simply no roads, usually when liveaboards offer "Rabaul to Milne Bay trips", they will make a stopover in the Tufi. Diving in Tufi area includes a mix of critters and pelagics, along with stunning above water scenery.
Madang and Wewak Area
During June through September every year, there are few boats offer trips from Madang and Wewak. Madang was the centre of heavy fighting during World War II and there are 34 sunken ship dive sites to explore at Hansa Bay near Bogia. The highlight will be with the number of hammerhead sightings, and tiger sharks have also made appearances. Plus the rich volcanic sand also bring some classic "Milne Bay" type of muck dives.
The Solomon Sea Region
Consider as the areas around the large island of New Britain. The diving on the north coast is centered around Kimbe Bay. Plus Rabaul on the north-east tip of New Britain and then the remote South Coast of the New Britain island.
Kimbe Bay area
Kimbe Bay is a huge marine protected marine area located along the New Britain Island, this area offers a fantastic cross section of many different dive types, from coral gardens, sea mounts, reef walls, arches and overhanging ledges, to muck diving in rubbly black sand bays, watching the whales, dolphins and sharks feed and breed in the bay's waters. The bay also is home to some of the healthiest coral, as well as some of the largest diversion of both coral and fish anywhere on the planet.
Rabaul & The Duke of York Islands
Rabaul was a prime target during World War II, nowadays, there are 54 Japanese ships resting under the peaceful surface, although only about 10 of them were accessible. Rabaul went on to become the wreck capital of scuba diving in Papua New Guinea!
The South Coast area
The south coast of the eastern half of New Britain is what you might call a remote location. The south coast seasons are effectively opposite to the north. Underwater the area has a mixture of remote and untouched reefs, some excellent critter sites and a few WWII wrecks.
The Bismarck Sea Region
Consider as the New Ireland Province, lays at the far eastern end of the Bismarck Archipelago. The province is famous for its unique Malagan carvings and traditional culture. Divers know the area for its WWII wrecks, large pelagics and the big currents that sweep through its northern islands.
Diving in Kavieng presents yet another diversely different dive destination in PNG. Kavieng is situated at the northern tip of New Ireland, it is world renowned for its current-swept passages that attract a variety of big, pelagic fish action, the strong incoming currents act as magnets to the schools of trevally, barracuda, grey reef sharks, eagle rays and reef fish. On the Pacific Ocean side of north New Ireland and is mainly wreck diving. While over on the Bismarck Sea side it is mainly reef diving. Plus there are number of WWII wrecks lay scattered in and around New Harbour (also called Kavieng Harbour). These include a Japanese merchant ship and many float planes. The area is remote and rarely dived so if you get the chance to go there – just do it!